Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge
March 7, 2013

Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge

The bridges of Manhattan Island aren’t just thoroughfares that connect travelers to the surrounding shore: they offer some of the most delightful sites for outdoor adventures.

In a recent post, we chronicled our walk across the Queensboro Bridge, which has recently been renamed the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge in honor of one of the city’s most beloved mayors. But it’s far from being the only New York City bridge full of history and charm. The Brooklyn Bridge is practically an outdoor museum, not to mention its amazing views, spacious room for walking, and the sense it will give you of levitating over the East River.

The bridge’s amazing back story is chronicled in outdoor displays. As you walk along, admiring the old brickwork and elegant steel suspension, you and your kids can learn how the bridge was constructed and why it was such a significant advance in bridge-building technology.

When it opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge connected what were then the independent cities of New York and Brooklyn. It  and was one of the first suspension bridges built in the United States, and the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1903. It

Of course, the views are monumental. The walk, just over a mile across each way, begins either with an aerial view of the packed landscape of Lower Manhattan or, if you started on the Brooklyn side, the same perspective on newly renovated park landscape on the Brooklyn side of the river. The Statue of Liberty stands in profile on Liberty Island to the south, and the skeletal structure of the Freedom Tower—still a work in progress—juts up from the skyline of lower Manhattan.

As you continue your crossing, the spidery interplay of the bridge’s edifice and wire becomes a vision of interest in its own right, from which you are only distracted by the stunning vista of Lower Manhattan jutting off towards Europe. The only thing comparable is the view from the former site of the Catskill Mountain House, which we chronicled last summer in our series of posts covering our return to the Catskills. The pure openness—particularly for those of us habituated to crowded streets, scaffolding, and dense construction—will take your breath away.

Further Afield

If you began your trip in Manhattan, you will arrive within a stone’s throw of the New York City Transit Museum in Brooklyn, which we highly recommend visiting. The museum was constructed in a former subway station and features authentic cars from every era in the history of the subway, exhibits covering the history of the bus system, and hands-on displays that teach kids how the city receives electricity. We’ve only been twice—and both times we factored in a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge—but it is without a doubt among our kids’ favorite museums, in part because it’s kid-friendly and gives them ample room to run around and license to touch and play.

If you begin your trip over the bridge in Brooklyn, you will arrive just a block away from Broadway, which you can follow to Battery Park. The park, which we will covered in Outdoors With Kids New York City and will visit again for this blog, is wonderful for picnicking and strolling around, soaking in the scenery and colonial-era history surrounding the bottom coast of Manhattan.

Note on Renovations

As of two weeks ago, the Brooklyn Bridge was undergoing renovation. This posed no problem for pedestrians, however the views were occasionally interrupted by high scaffolding. We loved it as much as ever anyway. Anyone else ever been to the Brooklyn Bridge?


 

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